Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Sunland Derby and Sunland Park Oaks preview

Sunday’s card at the New Mexico racetrack features a pair of points races: the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby for open company, and the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks for fillies and mares.  The races aren’t 100-point preps like the ones in Louisiana the day before, but with 50, 20, 10, and 5 points available to their top four finishers, they still award enough points to constructively guarantee their winners a spot in Kentucky come May, and should get their second-place finishers most of the way to a berth.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Sunday’s three-year-old points races at Sunland Park, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

making the most of the Conquest Mo Money story

We talk so often of horse racing needing to try new things to bring attention to the sport.  Less often, I see novel measures actually taken.

In this spirit, I tip my cap to Sunland Park and Judge Lanier Racing, for taking an affirmative step to build more buzz around an already engaging story.

Conquest Mo Money gallops clear of Irap to win the Mine That Bird Derby.  (Photo Credit: Coady Photography)

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Sunland Park video preview

I shared my thoughts on today’s pair of three-year-old stakes races at Sunland here yesterday, but as we all know, handicapping is a game of opinions.  Mine are what I will be playing today, but they’re not the only ones out there.

In today’s video from Sunland Park, I join Jim Miller, Rachel McLaughlin, Penelope Miller, Ryan Dickey, and Zac Coffman in giving my opinions on the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes and the Plum Pretty Stakes.

Take a look, and let us help you figure out who you like today!

Thank you so much, Molly Jo Rosen and Sunland Park, for doing this video and having me on it.  I had a great time!

P. S.: For those who love Curlin babies?  Though I did not land on Walk Out in the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes, there are a few folks on here who give him a chance to become the next stakes-winning Curlin baby!

Sunday’s Sunland three-year-old stakes

This weekend is Fiesta del Sol weekend at Sunland Park, and the festivities include stakes-laden weekend cards.  Sunday’s card features a pair of rich races for three-year-olds: the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes for open sophomores, and the Plum Pretty Stakes for fillies.  Both of them drew contentious fields, with good mixes of sharp locals and intriguing shippers.

They should make for fun betting races, so let’s take a look!

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Mine That Bird Stakes Preview

This Friday, racing gets back underway at Sunland for the first time since January 22.

The nine-race card ends with a chance for three-year-olds to shine in the Mine That Bird Stakes.  The local prep for the Sunland Derby, this year it is being run under overnight stakes conditions.  It drew a field of ten colts and geldings to run a mile on the dirt for a $100,000 purse.  Of the ten, eight have raced on the New Mexico circuit before.  The only new faces are first-time starter Volley and mid-Atlantic shipper Dad.  Though this two-start maiden has only raced at Delaware Park, he already has an indelible connection to the circuit: his dam is none other than undefeated New Mexico-bred Peppers Pride.  Dad is an easy sentimental choice here.

But, we are looking for winners today, not necessarily rooting interests.  For that, we go elsewhere.

Selections:  Deputy’s Echo (7), Hemakesmyheartsing (10), Bruntino (8)

Longshot:  Volley (2)

Continue reading “Mine That Bird Stakes Preview”